Moon Reads: Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire

Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire by Beatrice Blue

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I reviewed a while ago Beatrice’s other book, Once Upon A Unicorn Horn, so when I saw this one was coming, I preordered it. It is easy, make a book I enjoyed, I will almost always preorder your next books.

The artwork was top class, but that was no surprise given I enjoy Beatrice’s art a lot. And as per the previous book, this is a book giving things a new “origin” so in this case it is centered around a dragon and fire.

This is about two children that made up adventures and were obsessed with dragon stories so they decide to go search the dragon and thanks to them “fire” is invented.

Look it is way better than I am describing!

In all honesty the story is a great read out loud or act out one, the artowkr and pictures are full of detail and cuteness, and the story is reaffirming and all about tenderness and warmth (and some dragon fire too).

It has a dragon, fire, and a great story, so this is a definite win and I am eagerly awaiting what else we may get as an origin of this thing type of book from Beatrice Blue.

Moon Reads: Night Shift

Night Shift by Debi Gliori

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I bought this book as it was on sale and it had dragons and a mental health focus, plus it was illustrated so it sounded like something I’d read and review. Which it is.

The artwork is interesting and there’s deffnitely dragons and it’s mostly black and white. And the focus of the book is how the author sees depression as a dragon that is trying to set her on fire or that sets things she likes on fire, that the smoke fromt he dragon is tiring and draining. And of course, it is about hope, about how the cycles of depression can go and you can see again a little better.

I have to say I liked the metaphor of depression as a dragon and the illustrations did this well, but the prose didn’t really stick in my head or capture my attention enough, it was for the images and the metaphor that I stuck around rather than the way it was written (which is why it doesn’t have a higher rating, as I have seen a variety of comics and ways of representing depression and this was nice but it didn’t hit as well as others had done before).

Still, it is a nice book and the art is great, so I’d still recommend, particularly if you like dragons. As much as it may not have struck as well with me in with the words, it may strike better on you or a loved one to share this with.

Dragons Love Tacos Review

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin. illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

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Look, a book that mixes dragons and tacos? Yes please! And lovely friend saw it and decided it was the perfect gift sonow I have a cute tiny dragon holding a taco at home.

Isn’t it adorable?

The book is all about how dragons love tacos with cute drawings of different types of dragons, what to put on the tacos to make dragons love them more and what to avoid and even features a taco party (this felt perfectly like it was describing me as I love hosting taco parties and sharing the taco love around) so it was most certainly the right book for me and I kept cooing over it.

And it comes with the little plush toy which is a nice bonus. I recommend it is a gift for a child (or an adult like me that loves dragons and tacos) and it will mean a lot fo time spent in joy looking and playing with the taco dragon and pondering what dragons one might have over for a taco party when it is possible to do that again!

The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons Review

The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.

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I discovered The Boy who Grew Dragons a while back and adored it so I ended up buying all three books. And then they announced there would be a fourth one and I immediately preordered it because between the cute illustrations and the adorable story, I was sold (plus, dragons, very important part).

The best way I can summarise what the book is all about is to say that it is a transition story, from what happened in the previous three to what is to come if there are more books (which I hope there are). There a lot of changes for the superhero squad, and some new characters added.

Tomas is struggling to cope with the changes and feels like things are moving too fast, but there are ways around them and change brings growth which is a lesosn he definitely has to learn in this book. Plus one of the new characters brings potentially lots of new stories to the game (and I am hoping they will come in more books for sure). We see more Flicker and more dragosn whcih was enjoyable, I just was sad that my original idea of what dreaming of dragons meant wasn’t what happened but I still liked what the title implied to (and it was more fo a “I went expecting/guessing this and something else happened but I still wish this one thing was something in this universe” maybe it will be at some point…)

One of my favourite things is the cute dragons and how unique they are which was wonderful to see here. And the relationships of family like how Tomas and his sister Lolli get along and I love that, or when he interacts with his grandfather. It is lovely to see some family around and the dynamics behind them.

As I mentioned before, the artwork is great and very enjoyable, giving the story a little bit more fun and depth. So go get the first one, or maybe the whole set, because maybe you will suddenly find an interesting fruit and need to know how to deal with the little dragon that may pop out of it!

The Princess Who Flew With Dragons Review

The Girl who Flew with Dragons by Stephanie Burgis

Sofia isn’t the crown princess – that’s her perfect big sister, Katrin. Sofia is the other one. The disappointing one. So when disaster strikes, Sofia is certain she’s not a good enough princess to fix things. But she has to try. And maybe when you’re a failed princess with only a young dragon and a pack of rowdy goblins on your side, it’s time to try something wildly different…

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I love this book series so mcuh I kept pushing it to my friends and even insisted they borrow both books that were out rather than just the first one because I knew they’d want to read the next one once they finished the first one (I was right!).

You can read my review for The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart and The Girl with the Dragon Heart. They’re really good and help set the universe for this book (though technically you don’t need to read them beforehand but they will help understand this one better).

Anyway, I had eagerly preordered this one, and I do not regret it at all. I was very excited to read it and made sure to pace myself to make it last and enjoy it more (more or less how I’d have to have a cup of hot chocolate but that’s another story for another time).

It was so good and really warming. It as always has a way of telling you that who you are is important as you are, but also makes you think inwardly about things (in this case there’s a lot about family and learning and philosophy). I laughed and cheered and wanted to defend them and I really enjoyed it.

Highly recommend for reading out loud, or for reading to yourself. I mean, DRAGONS and riding dragons, and brave princesses and chocolate, and adventures! Plus there’s a cat that in my head is a mix of Pebbles, Stephanie’s cat, and Tomte, Asha’s cat. I know very few of you who read this will know what I am talking about, but in my head it is the cutest most perfect nursing loving caring cat with all the fluff and chill of Tomte.

I will stop with cats, and say you should go buy them all (the books, not the cats…)

The Night Dragon Review

The Night Dragon by Naomi Howarth

“I wish I could fly, and breathe fire, and fill the sky with great gray, sooty clouds,” Maud said to her friend, Mouse.

Maud is picked on by the other dragons, so stays cooped up in her cave, sad and lonely. But when the chance comes, will her friend Mouse help her pluck up the courage to fly? A beautiful picture book about individuality and friendship. 

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This book caught my eye with all the colours and the style of the artwork so I got it alongside a few other illustrated books. I do not regret this.

Maud is a cute dragon, all rainbow coloured, and she lives with a bunch of night dragons who every night they puff big clouds of smoke to obscure the sky and bring in the night. I loved the concept of why nightim comes and that it is dragons puffing smoke clouds. Made me smile.

But Maud can’t fly and puff clouds like them, she is taunted a lot by the other dragons. But one day they have a party and none of the usual night dragons can fly. So Maud’s little friend, Mouse encourages her to try flying.

After a bit of encouragement and a “what have you got to lose?” Maud jumps off and hopes she can fly. And she can. And her own special magic shows.

It was cute and intiially I thought it was going to be a specific type of power but it was differnet and it was still super cute. The artwork was a delight and I am glad to have read this, plus dragons and a cute mouse.

There is No Dragon in this Story Review

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There Is No Dragon In This Story by Lou Carter and Deborah Allwright

Poor old dragon. Nobody wants him in their story. Not Goldilocks, not Hansel and Gretel – no one. But Dragon will not give up! He shall continue on his course of finding someone who wants him in their story. ANYONE. His boundless enthusiasm surely won’t get him into any trouble. Surely …

A glorious story about dragons, heroes and ice cream with sprinkles. From author Lou Carter, a phenomenal new talent, and Deborah Allwright, illustrator of the bestselling The Night Pirates.

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Another one of those books I randomly found and chose to buy. You can clearly see a dragon in the cover, but the title is that there is no dragon in this story. My curiosity got the best of me. Of course we had to have a dragon, right?

The book starts saying that this was supposed to be a traditional dragon story. The dragon steals a princess, the prince/knight saves her and slays the dragon. But that’s not the story because the dragon refuses to be the villain and wants to be a hero.

So Mr Dragon goes out to all the other stories in this world and kindly asks if he can help and be the hero. Maybe he can stop the wolf for the three pigs? Or do something for Goldilocks? But every story he goes to, they tell him the same thing, he can’t be the hero because “there is no dragon in this story”. Poor dragon.

He has to try one more time, and well, let’s just say this doesn’t go very well and everything goes wrong, so now every story needs a hero. Will the dragon be the hero? Or will this be another “no dragon” kind of story?

I laughed a lot and felt so much for the dragon while reading this. Throughly enjoyed this one so will recommend that you get it for a rainy day when you need an easy book or to get you out of a slump.

 

The Clockwork Dragon Review

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The Clockwork Dragon by Jonathan Emmett

The Kingdom of Rodney is being terrorised by Flamethrottle the dragon. Fortunately Max, a young toymaker, and Lizzie, an armourer, are more than a match for this man-eating monster and the two of them come up with a clever plan to drive it away.
llustrated by Elys Dolan, the creator of Weasels!

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Other than the fact the start of the book made me feel like I had lost a page somewhere (and I genuinely had to look back to the title page and then first page, then back again just to be sure), this is a very cute book. Max likes making mechanical toys which his boxx doesn’t like much, but Max is clever and he finds Lizzie the armourer to help with a crazy plan to defeat the dragon that is eating all the knights and hoarding tresure up the mountain.

The illustrations are really lovely, and just the fact that there’s two dragons in this book was awesome (all the dragons, right?!). The Clockwork dragon is so cool and I wish there was a real one (as in one made of clockwork and all that) that I could have.

I really liked the creativity in the story, and it was a feel good hero/heroine book. With dragons.

Moon recommends

This reminds me a little of The Princess and the Pony, which I reviewed a while back (a long time ago) in the style of knight/princess story with a twist.

The Boy Who Flew With Dragons Review

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The Boy Who Flew With Dragons by Andy Shepherd

Tomas can’t imagine life without his little dragon Flicker. He’s become more than a pet – he’s a friend like no other. And growing dragons on the dragonfruit tree in the garden with his friends Ted, Kat and Kai is the most amazing thing ever. But Tomas has promised Grandad something – that he and his friends will let their dragons go back to where they belong. The only problem is – that isn’t such an easy thing to do. Not when they are still having so much fun with dragons Flicker, Sunny, Crystal and Dodger. Not when they still have to work out where the dragons’ home is, and how to get the dragons to leave. And not when Tomas is so close to uncovering the true story of the mysterious dragonfruit tree …

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This is the third (and I think last) in the series. And I had preordered it as soon as I finished the first one because how can you not fall in love with this series?

We take off a little after the end of the previous book, and little Loli gets a dragon, and oh wow I don’t want to spoil it, but it also points to the fact Tomas doesn’t want to get rid of the dragons, but he also doesn’t want to break his promise to Grandad.

Then of course something happens and things get interesting and the dragons do have to leave. But also, we get a little more backstory on how the tree came to be in their garden and about the Lost Dragon City (which is where the tree kinda came from). Part of me wanted to read the adventures of how the city was first found, maybe a next book idea? I would totally buy that!

The artwork, the “burnt” pages, and everything makes this book also quite lovely. I basically sat down and had to read it one go. And it went by too fast, but it had some good points and great lessons in tehre without feeling like the same thing over and over again.

Moon recommends

Go read the very first one, The Boy Who Grew Dragons, as it is the start of the story and it is worth it, and now you can get all three of them and read them in one go. (Or maybe try to space them to make it last? I don’t know what kind of person you are, but whatever option is, that one).

 

The Boy Who Grew Dragons Review

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The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd

When Tomas discovers a strange old tree at the bottom of his grandad’s garden, he doesn’t think much of it. But he takes the funny fruit from the tree back into the house – and gets the shock and delight of his life when a tiny dragon hatches! The tree is a dragonfruit tree, and Tomas has got his very own dragon, Flicker …

Tomas soon finds out that life with Flicker is great fun, but also very … unpredictable. Yes, dragons are wonderful, but they also set fire to your toothbruth and leave your pants hanging from the TV aerial. Tomas has to learn how to look after Flicker – and quickly. And then something extraordinary happens – more dragonfruits appear on the tree. Tomas is officially growing dragons …

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With a title like that, how could I resist? I saw it in Waterstones and promptly bought it and the sequel. (And there’s another one coming out soonish).

We meet Tomas, who is helpiong his Grandpa to clear up his garden and try to grow something. As they do this they find a strange fruit which turns out to be a dragon fruit (pitaya). And well, Tomas takes one of the fruits home because he is curious about it, and then all of a sudden it hatches a tiny dragon!

Flicker is a cutie, however what is Tomas going to do now that he has a small dragon?

This was really fun to read, and I loved the fact that it is a “not everything is perfect” kind of story. The illustrations make it even better and hint at things to come. And it is also interesting to see the relationships of Tomas and family and friends.

All in all a quick enjoyable read.

Moon recommends

I have recently been reading a lot of Middle Grade, so check out The Dragon with The Chocolate Heart for example, and obviously The Boy Who Grew Dragons.

The Girl With The Dragon Heart Review

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The Girl With The Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Once upon a time, in a beautiful city famous for chocolate and protected by dragons, there was a girl so fearless that she dared to try to tell the greatest story of all: the truth.

Silke has always been good at spinning the truth and storytelling. So good that just years after arriving as a penniless orphan, she has found her way up to working for the most splendid chocolate makers in the city (oh, and becoming best friends with a dragon). Now her gift for weaving words has caught the eye of the royal family, who want to use her as a spy when the mysterious and dangerous fairy royal family announce they will visit the city. But Silke has her own dark, secret reasons for not trusting fairies …

Can Silke find out the truth about the fairies while keeping her own secrets hidden? From the author of the magical The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart comes a second magical adventure perfect for fans of Cressida Cowell, Cornelia Funke and Peter Bunzl.

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I previously reviewed the first book in this series, The Dragon With The Chocolate Heart, and I had ordered both, so I dug into this one shortly after finishing the first one. Once again, there is a lot of chocolate, which is delightful.

Adventurine is still part of the story, but it gets more interesting as we see more of Silke and we’re more inside her head. We learn a little about her past (well, a lot but it starts with a little that makes her accept a mission she isn’t that suited to do).

She also uses her “smarts” to win the situation over and realises the power of friendships, of family and herself (and she finds out who she truly is and what her talents are rather than trying hard to be something she isn’t).

It is an adorable story that I would recommend to anyone and it has sent me into a spiral of buying books about dragons and witches, all middle grade… (I even have a MG dedicated shelf now, oh dear!).

Moon recommends

First, check out the prequel out and then dig into this one because it is worth it.

The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species Review

This book came in LitJoy Crate alongside The Last Namsara as it was a “great companion book”. And I devoured The Last Namsara but had put this one on my bookcase and forgotten a little about it.

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The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species by Cressida Cowell

This guide is a must-have for fans of the New York Timesbestselling How to Train Your Dragon series that inspired the hit movie and TV show. This gift book features all of the dragon species from the series plus brand-new ones created just for this book, with color illustrations of each and every one!

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This was fun to read, in the same style of all the other “How to Train Your Dragon” books, this one is full of annotations and scribbles. It is full of different kinds of dragons which are somewhat categorised by their habitat and some by how dangerous they are.

It includes the coloured illustrations, the writing about them, some rating of how fearsome (fear factor) the dragon is, size, etc. It was fun to read and it went quite quickly, but I think as fun as it is, if you haven’t really read anything about the series, this book may not be as enjoyable as it is when you actually have, as some of the references or anecdotes are related to other books.

Moon recommends

You read the whole series, this is a fun one, because it is geared for younger readers but it is a delight to read as an adult and both Hiccup and Toothless make for a very interesting team. If you haven’t read it, you can start with the first book, How to Train your Dragon. You’re in for a ride for sure with the whole series. Enjoy!

If you’d like to have a handy dragon guide, you can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

 

The Last Namsara Review

This will be funny once you see the next post.

I went to one of Gollancz events about Fantasy in YA and managed to get my book signed which was really great and the talk was fun and it was awesome so I left wanting to read the book and I did.

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

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I enjoyed this more than I expected, I guess partly because I wasn’t sure what to expect. Usually I love books with dragons, except for Paolini’s books for reasons I won’t go into in this review, so I knew I would probably like this one.

I am also really into heroines that seem to have a life purpose that distances from others but they also long for a life, and with Asha, it broke my heart that she had to marry someone she didn’t want to marry (and it just was she didn’t want to marry, not that she had a secret love somewhere). It felt powerful.

The tiwsts of the story and how Asha clings to her previous beliefs then slowly the blinds are taken from her eyes and she starts seeing things in a different light, correcting the wrongs becomes so much more important. This was beautifully achieved and the character growth in this particular aspect was a delight to read.

I wasn’t too much into the romance mostly because it feels like it still has to grow but I assume it’ll be taken on on the book since it is only somewhat starting at the end of this book.

The way the slaves aren’t meant to even look at the draksor and can’t touch them was chilling and I just hope it is delved deepr into why it was chosen this way and what had driven the dragon queen to do such atrocities.

And I really liked the secondary/side characters, Asha’s brother, her cousin, the rest of the cast were very well developed (and also the villains, I love well developed villains with layers and motives and wow).

All in all a good fantasy book with dragons, stories and interesting characters. Definitely looking forward to the second one.

Moon recommends

If you like dragons and heroines, read The Last Namsara. As I read it, I couldn’t help but find a lot of similarities with The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, which actually at first put me off since it is such a beloved book for me, but the similarities are good and they are different enough that they are each a strong book on their own so my love for them doesn’t conflict.


PS. The book beneath The Last Namsara is Dragonology,  I am also taking advantage of Krakow props like the dragon and the coaster because they have their own fire breathing dragon outside the castle.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.